Playa Blanca, Isla Barú and Islas del Rosario
This is a complete list of full-day tour options available from Cartagena Marina. These destinations are only available within the context of an optional add-on to extended tours around Colombia. We do not offer Islas del Rosario and Playa Blanca as a standalone tour.
Day excursions by boat to Playa Blanca on Cartagena's Isla Barú and Las Islas del Rosario are an unmissable addition to your visit to Cartagena. There are numerous options for visiting the islas.
Playa Blanca, Isla Barú
Playa Blanca is a pristine beach on Cartagena's Isla Barú, the beach is defined by its white sands, hence Playa Blanca and its warm turquoise sea. Extremely popular with Colombians and international visitors alike The Colombian Way considers it a "must see" add-on for your trip to Cartagena.
Isla Barú actually isn't an isla at all. Geographically it is a peninsular in the bay of Cartagena which was isolated from the mainland some 400 years ago when the Spanish built the Canal del Dique to facilitate navigation between Cartagena and the Rio Magdalena.
Las Islas del Rosario
The Islas del Rosario are an archipelago of some 27 coral islands located off the tip of Barú. The islands are designated a Colombian national natural park. In terms of tourism, each island offers something unique for the visitor.
Trips by tourist boat
Cartagena has scheduled tourist boat services which leave Cartagena Marina to one of the islands before continuing on to a beach destination. Typically the trips are from 10.00am to 5.30pm.
El Oceanario & Playa Blanca
This trip passes between islands before reaching El Oceanario, an aquarium located on one of the islands. Entrance to the aquarium should always be paid locally. The boat arrives in Playa Blanca at about 2pm where lunch is included in the tour. Visitors have approximately 2 hours at Playa Blanca before returning to Cartagena for about 5.30pm The capacity of the boat is ca. 200 peope.
- The tourist boats use flat bottomed tenders to reach Playa Blanca, you should not wear long trousers on this trip.
- Check out the options to spend a night or two at Playa Blanca, you can use this trip for very economical transfers arriving one day and continuing the trip a day or two later.
El Oceanario & Isla Cocoliso
This trip passes between islands before reaching El Oceanario, an aquarium located on one of the islands. Entrance to the aquarium should always be paid locally. The boat continues to the private Cocoliso Island where passengers can enjoy the private facilities for the remainder of the afternoon before returning to Cartagena. The capacity of the boat is 120 people.
Trips by rapid motor launch
There are various trips by private motor launch which arrive more quickly to the destination and ultimately allow the visitor more time on the beach. Rapid motor launches have a capacity for 35 to 50 people.
El Oceanario & Playa Blanca
This trip passes between islands before reaching El Oceanario. Entrance to the aquarium should always be paid locally. After an hour or so the boat continues to Playa Blanca where lunch is included. This trip allows about 4 hours on Playa Blanca.
El Oceanario & Isla del Encanto
This trip passes between islands before reaching El Oceanario. Entrance to the aquarium should always be paid locally. After an hour or so the launch continues on to privately owned Isla del Encanto where visitors may use the private beach and facilities of the resort.
El Oceanario & Isla del Pirata
This trip passes between islands before reaching El Oceanario. Entrance to the aquarium should always be paid locally. After an hour or so the launch continues on to privately owned Isla del Pirata where visitors may use the private beach and facilities of the resort.
Playa Blanca only
Get there fast and spend the whole day at Playa Blanca with a return trip on a rapid motor launch.
Take a rapid motor launch to Isla Cocoliso and enjoy a day of snorkelling amongst the coral reefs.
Why not spend the night there?
Many people like to take it more slowly and spend a night or two on either one of the islas or Playa Blanca.
Islas del Rosario
Accommodation is available at any of the well appointed resort islands mentioned above. Also check out our separate page for San Pedro de Majagua.
A firm favourite option of The Colombian Way is camping for a night or two on Playa Blanca, great value for money and you get to enjoy the beach when it is least busy and watch the sun set. Combining the tourist boat with camping is an unforgettable and economical experience.
- So many options to choose from that even we cannot decide which is our favourite. Whilst maximum time at the destination is great, so is spending the day at sea on the large tourist boat. The boat has something of a party atmosphere, an air of excitement and a real sense of a big day out.
- Be sure to consider breaking up your outbound and return trips to spend some time at the destination.
The prices include the following
- Boat transfers on your chosen route
- Lunch where indicated
- Entrance to private resorts where indicated
- Mandatory port fees and entrance costs for the destinations
Yes there is a lot to digest! Use our contact form if you require any assistance in helping to decide and tell us exactly how you want your Playa Blanca and Rosario experience to be.